The family of Anthony “Tony” Mitchell has filed a lawsuit against the Walker County Jail and its officials, alleging that the 33-year-old man froze to death after he was placed in a walk-in freezer or refrigerated area as reported by Fox8.
Margaret Mitchell, Tony’s grieving mother, affirms that he experienced “hellish” conditions in jail for two weeks prior to his death following his arrest in mid-January. According to the lawsuit, numerous corrections officers and medical staff were aware of Tony’s condition but delayed medical treatment for five hours.
The suit alleges that guards tased Tony and housed him naked due to the facility’s suicide watch policy and that he was “likely” restrained in a chair and placed in a cold area for hours.
“While Tony languished naked and dying of hypothermia in the early morning hours of January 26 and his chances for survival trickled away, numerous corrections officers and medical staff wandered over to his open cell door to spectate and be entertained by his condition,” the complaint stated as reported by the outlet.
Tony was arrested after one of his relatives became concerned for him and called the police. Tony fired upon police when they arrived and was eventually arrested. The Walker County Sheriff’s Office had informed Tony’s relative that he would receive help while in jail, but this was not the case. Deputies had recovered meth, heroin, and a handgun from the location of his arrest.
When Tony was taken to the hospital, his internal body temperature was 72 degrees. An emergency room doctor stated that it was difficult to understand why his body was so cold.
The Mitchell family attributes a corrections department official, Karen Kelly, for preserving footage of Tony’s experience in jail as reported by NY Post. Kelly was terminated from her post after sharing the footage with Mitchell’s relatives. Kelly is also suing the jail.
Jon Goldfarb, the family’s lawyer, told the outlet, “This is the worst case of inmate abuse I have ever seen.” He added, “The evidence of abuse would have been buried with Tony Mitchell but for the bravery of a lone corrections officer who made videos of what really happened to Tony and shared one of them. And, they fired her for exposing the truth of this abuse.”